Whenever I share photos of Rowan eating solids on my Instagram, I always receive DMs full of questions about what we are feeding him, how we are feeding him, etc. Like all things with parenting, people have a ton of different opinions about how to introduce solids and what solids to give. There are parents who stand by a more traditional strategy of spoon-feeding purees and parents who stand by newer strategies like baby led weaning. In some parts of life, I can be really regimented but, I’d say, in many areas I am pretty comfortable going with the flow. When it came to solids, I wanted to read up on it to learn best practices and what to avoid but, at the end of the day, I didn’t really care how Rowan was eating as long as he was enjoying solids, happy, healthy, and growing.
As I mentioned in this post on 9 months with Rowan, I actually wouldn’t have been surprised at all if Rowan took awhile to come around to solids (because drinking milk as always been one of our biggest hurdles – breastmilk, formula, nursing, and bottles – none of it has been a breeze at all). Rowan decided to mix things up and he immediately took to solids! It has been a really fun and stress-free process for us. I know this might not be the case with future children but with Rowan it is. So, I’m thankful and enjoying that.
I am by no means an expert on feeding babies (far from it!) and what we have done isn’t “right,” it is just what has worked for us so far.
Take from it what you will. Here is a bit of a breakdown on how and what we feed Rowan at 6-9 months old + see the bottom of this post for some encouraging words on feeding your babies!
What We Feed Rowan at 6-9 Months Old
At 9 months of age, Rowan still drinks a lot of milk and now eats a lot of solids. At this point, I’ve chosen to cook and prepare the vast majority of this food myself or serve whole foods that don’t need cooking (i.e. bananas etc.). Rowan is my only child and I don’t leave our house for a 9-5 job so I have the ability to dedicate time to do the food prep. Don’t be mistaken, it takes time (this shouldn’t be a “I don’t know how she does it” moment because, as I said, I’m at home and I use time I could spend on me doing this)! I spend multiple hours a week doing it. And I do it because I enjoy it.
I also do it because Rowan is my first baby so I have the time. I understand that I probably won’t have as much time with any future children we have so I’d like to now while I can. In all honesty, this is just a personal choice. There are fantastic pre-made baby food choices out there now (sharing the ones we use below) as well as baby/kid food delivery services! Every option is a great option as long as your baby is being fed.
For starters, Rowan is now exclusively on formula. I have tried a lot of different formulas and Rowan didn’t like any of them (organic or not) except for Similac Pro-Advance, which is a great option. My pediatrician stands behind it and it is available everywhere (groceries, target, etc.). Rowan was drinking milk so I was happy. However, after he was in the flow of formula for awhile, I decided to give it one more go to try different formulas in case we could find an organic formula that he liked. Miraculously, he did! So, Rowan now drinks Happy Baby Organic Formula, which I buy on Amazon in packs of one or four.
Pouches are amazing for on the go, for traveling, for outings, to have in a pinch, and to always have on hand at my parents house. As I mentioned above, I make a ton of his food, so pouches make up 5, maybe 10%, of Rowan’s diet but I always have them on the ready. When I give him a pouch, I usually bulk it up with something to make it more filling like banana. Rowan doesn’t slurp down pouches yet from the pouch… not sure when he’ll take to that! The pouches we buy are Cerebelly (a wonderful recommendation from another trusted mom friend) that I chatted about here, Once Upon A Farm, and Happy Baby Organics.
There are other organic brands out there but these have all worked well for us so we haven’t strayed! Let me know if you have a favorite brand we should try. In addition to pouches, we will also give Rowan yogurt from Stonyfield Organic and oatmeal from Happy Baby Organics.
When I’m chatting about snacks here, I’m specifically talking about packaged snacks, not whole food snacks (like raspberries) or snacks I cook/prepare. Snacks are great to bring along on walks, outings, and travel days. Some snacks Rowan loves are organic string cheese, Earth’s Best Organic Peanut Butter Puffs, Cheerios, Happy Baby Organics yogis, creamies, teethers, and puffs.
We haven’t done this yet but I love that it exists and am fully confident that we will utilize one of these services down the road if we are fortunate enough to have more children (and therefore, I have less time). One of my very best friends who I would trust with anything baby/kid related loves Little Spoon. If she stands by it, then I feel confident recommending it. Also, if you live in Charleston, then I’d recommend Harvest to Highchair (they do have some products that they ship too!). They are a great way to support local for my fellow Charlestonians!
Whole Foods & Solids Prepared by Us
Below is a general list of whole foods and solids prepared by us for Rowan. I also want to mention that some foods are more likely to cause adverse reactions (eggs, nut butters, etc.) so be sure to read up on them and talk to your pediatrician about monitoring your baby the first time they eat a highly sensitive or allergic food.
Raspberries, blueberries (with skin peeled off), strawberries, blackberries, bananas, peaches, pears, apples (steamed & pureed), mango, avocados (he doesn’t love avocados on their own so we mix them in with other things), oranges
Corn (pureed), peas (pureed), spinach (steamed & pureed), kale (steamed & pureed), broccoli (steamed & pureed when younger but now just steamed), cauliflower (steamed & pureed when younger but now just steamed), green beans (steamed & pureed when younger but now just steamed), mushrooms (steamed & pureed), sweet potatoes (baked in the oven), potatoes (baked in the oven and mashed with formula instead of cow’s milk), carrots (steamed & pureed when younger but now just steamed), zucchini (steamed & pureed when younger but now just steamed – I do without skin but not sure if that is a must)
eggs (hard boiled or scrambled), rotisserie chicken or baked chicken, baked salmon, baked white fish. We have not yet introduced shellfish, tuna (I don’t feel like the mercury is worth it at this point – I don’t know!), or red meat. I haven’t been totally sure the best way to do red meat (I’ve heard meatloaf is great but we don’t make meatloaf for ourselves so I haven’t crossed this bridge or read up on other red meat baby recipes – I’m all ears though if you have a tip!). I need to try cooked ground meat (i.e. turkey and beef).
Other Food Items
beans (when soft or cooked to be soft or I make them into hummus), lentils (the Trader Joe’s pack ones are great!), peanut butter, almond butter, toast, pasta (we’ve given Rowan a little but could introduce more), rice (we’ve given Rowan a little but could introduce more), plain organic yogurt (see above under the pouches section), organic cheese (see above under the pouches section)
Sample Items We Make & Prepare
A really common meal we give Rowan is a protein of chicken or fish with a side of pureed or steamed veggies and a side of sweet potato… very simple!
Pancakes (great recipe here)
Chicken chili (a girlfriend sent me a picture of a recipe – DM me on Instagram and I’ll send the picture to you!)
Toasts (I’ll make avocado toasts or nut butter + fruit toasts)
Mexican (ha, I call it Mexican but I’m not making Rowan enchiladas or anything! I will serve pureed corn, avocado, shredded cheese, and chicken. He loves the flavor combo.)
Quesadillas (another Mexican meal he likes – I do cheese with bits of chicken and bits of steamed veggies and avocado on top)
Loaded potatoes (baked sweet potatoes or baked potatoes with shredded cheese and chicken (+ sometimes avocado) – with baked potatoes, I use formula to soften and/or olive oil for a healthy fat and/or butter)
Fruit parfaits with yogurt or oatmeal (I’ll add things like ground flax or cinnamon for flavor – whatever I have really! – but no honey)
Egg scrambles with steamed veggies as well as hard boiled eggs
So many steamed fruits and veggies as well as purees (I make a few a purees and make a few batches of steamed veggies a week, which takes a bit of time but is easy to do). I’m inspired to step my puree game after seeing this post.
Baked chicken, salmon, or white fish (if we are cooking this for ourselves, we make an extra fish fillet (make sure there are no bones!) or chicken breast/thigh for Rowan to eat over the course of a few days)
Pasta with marinara sauce, chicken, and steamed veggies
How We Feed Rowan at 6-9 Months Old
In all honesty, I follow absolutely no method for feeding Rowan. I’d say I often spoon feed him but I also let Rowan pick up appropriate foods and feed himself. Sometimes, if I’m not in the mood for a mess or don’t have the time to clean a mess, I hold his food away from him so he can’t get his hands in it and exclusively spoon feed him or pop bites of food in his mouth. Other times, I fully let him engage with, play with, touch, smash, squish, and have sensory experiences with his food. I do it all.
I see lots of benefits in having babies develop independence with baby led weaning. But I also see lots of benefits in food I make for him that he can’t feed to himself (like nutrient rich purees). I do a blend and it works great for us! I highly recommend doing what you’re comfortable with, what encourages your child to eat happily, and what works best for your family. You do you!
Feeding Baby Gear We Love
Here is some of the baby gear we love in the feeding department. I’m not diving into bottles because I’ve found that it is so specific to each baby. There’s not really any great advice worth giving other than to be prepared to try different bottles/nipples if your baby isn’t taking to the bottles you have. We do have this sterilizer though and it can be clutch.
I get asked about our high chair all the time and, as time has passed, I’ve found that I don’t really love ours. I like that it isn’t huge and doesn’t occupy lots of space but I don’t love it because it is annoying to clean (you clean your high chair all the time!). Our high chair actually isn’t available anymore on Amazon but this is the closest one I’ve found to ours. It actually looks like it might be a bit easier to clean than ours and the price is great so it might be worth a shot!
My parents have this high chair and I like it so much more! I would recommend it much more than ours. We also have the Bumbo chair. I like it but am not passionate about it like some moms. I think we could have put Rowan in it younger than we did and I would have found it more helpful then.
Some bigger ticket items we love are the Baby Brezza and the Babymoov Duo Meal Station Food Maker.
If your baby drinks formula, then I can’t recommend the Baby Brezza enough! The truth is, making bottles isn’t that difficult but you make a handful a day and if your hands are full with a baby, then the ease of the Baby Brezza is a godsend. I would recommend it to anyone! The Babymoov Duo Meal Station Food Maker is great! It, along with the Baby Brezza, definitely take up a bit of real estate in your kitchen but anything to make your life easier.
I like the Babymoov Duo Meal Station Food Maker because it has everything I need in one. I use it to defrost, steam, puree, and blend. It’s so nice to not pull out a bunch of different things to accomplish this – it’s all in one. I use it every single time I meal prep for Rowan.
Below is a roundup of other items we love in the feeding department. We love to take Rowan out and about and we have traveled with him so some of these storage and on-the-go solutions have been amazing for us.
If you are in this season of life too with babies, then I hope this post was somewhat helpful! I’ve really enjoyed reassurance that there is no right or wrong way to feed babies… as long as they are fed, everyone is happy! I would highly recommend not getting too nervous or caught up in what others are doing. Do what you are comfortable with and what feels best for you and your baby. Always talk to your pediatrician openly with questions. They are the real sources of knowledge. Read about chocking hazards. Prepare yourself but have fun! Smile at your baby when he/she is eating. Enjoy the growth. Happy baby feeding!